10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Cotton wool and cement,
This review is from: Sleepwalkers (Audio CD)
It't difficult to know where to catagorise Mr Sylvian these days. Anyone who has followed his career since his days of Japan knows that after pushing the self destruct button on one of the most original bands to come out of the new romantic era, he metaphorically put his Nikes on and sprinted as far away from conventional pop music as he could possibly get.
I for one applaude him, as I myself now gallop (limp) toward my fifth decade I fully understand his need to explore new musical boundaries. As I have grown older there are few artists to whom I listened to as a kid, who are still producing new work which strives to be in anyway different from the albums and styles that made them sucessful in the first place. No problem there, but it is refreshing to also pick up a new album every few years or so and genuinely have no idea what is going to greet your ears when you first press play.
Sleepwalkers is a beautiful and sometimes challenging album featuring a selection of collaborative tracks from the last ten years or so. After the intensity of both "Blemish" and "Manafon", this is somewhat softer record. The experimental improvised style is represented (Trauma, Five Lines, Transit), but so to are some of the most beautiful honeyed songs I've heard in some time. Longtime collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto is featured with "World Citizen",and the selections from his brother, Steve Jansen's album "Slope" (Playground Martyrs and Ballad of a Deadman) make me sorry that I haven't already aquired that little gem.
Funnily enough the selections from the Nine Horses project are the ones that I would remove (possible exception, Money for Nothing). Don't get me wrong as an album I loved "Snow Bourne Sorrow" but somehow they just dont seem to fit with the rest of this selection.
Maybe repeated listens to Blemish and especially Manafon have educated my ears to appreciate his current direction.
The one constant is of course that voice. If like me you been soothed and cradled by it though the last three decades or so, then it will need no further explanation. If on the other hand, you don't get it...well you probably won't have read this far anyway.
So, definately not a greatest hits, but a wonderful place to start,or just to get an idea of what this grossly underrated artist has been doing for the last decade or so.
To quote a line from Mark Eitzel he "soaks the rules of dreamland in cotton wool and cement".